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Psalm 8: From Problems to Praise

In Psalm 8, the mood shifts in a big way--like mine so often does. Psalm 7 was heavy with self-reflection, calls for protection and revenge, violent criticism and condemnation. While Psalm 8 brims with inspired praise, Psalm 7's mood is dark.

Psalm 8 is literally an anthem of praise and worship, written "to the choirmaster." David begins and ends with the familiar refrain, "How majestic is your name in all the earth!" In between these bookends are accolades of wonder about God's creation and the marvel of His love for us. I can almost imagine David belting it out, complete with swelling string section.

At first, I couldn't help but ask myself what happened since David wrote the last psalm. How come this monumental shift? Then I quickly realized I'm so often exactly the same way! Every aspect of my circumstances can be precisely the same, but my perception is entirely different. One day, a situation can seem hopelessly dire. The next day, I marvel at God's creative orchestrations and loving provision!

We know that David is still in hot water with his enemies because down the pike a psalm or two, he continues with his laments and pleas for comfort, vindication, and help. But for now, his spirit soars with awe and gratitude. I know the feeling! Sometimes all in the very same day!

Have you ever heard this ditty?

The more I pray the better I feel.
The better I feel the less I pray.
The less I pray the worse I feel.
The worse I feel the more I pray.

That's me! I mean, I do pray every single day and many times a day, but that heartfelt prayer, the one that involves "supplication" (begging) is what seems to lead to sincere joyful praise, awe, wonder, deliverance. This confirms what we're told by Paul centuries later:

...The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV)

Viewed in that light, I can recognize--if not, embrace--suffering as the gateway to praise, worship, and thanksgiving. This affirms another one of Paul's many insights:

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

This isn't a fluffy abstract for the world beyond. We can experience these truths here and now.

Father God, help us to see "How majestic is your name in all the earth!"

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